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Endocrine Modulators of Neurological Processes: Potential Treatment Targets of Pediatric Neurological Diseases

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The endocrine regulation of neural processes has a profound neuroanatomical basis. A lot of endocrine modulators are widely expressed and secreted in the brain, and play an important neuromodulatory role in physiological and pathological processes such as brain development, brain function protection and brain ...

The endocrine regulation of neural processes has a profound neuroanatomical basis. A lot of endocrine modulators are widely expressed and secreted in the brain, and play an important neuromodulatory role in physiological and pathological processes such as brain development, brain function protection and brain injury repair. Many clinical and basic studies have demonstrated that endocrine modulators have neuroprotective effects in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, traumatic brain injury, aging and epilepsy. In addition, many endocrine modulators undergo significant changes in the serum and cerebrospinal fluid of neurological diseases, suggesting that they can act as biological markers for early diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of the disease.

In recent years, significant progress has been made in understanding the effects of endocrine modulators on pediatric neurological diseases, particularly for epilepsy, Dravet syndrome, autism spectrum disorders, cerebral palsy and ADHD. These developments stem from a series of advances in research on specific endocrine modulators such as melatonin, leptin and ghrelin, which were found to be effective in epilepsy models. Especially, leptin and ghrelin plasma levels were found to be modulated by ketogenic diet (KD) with a possible impact on epilepsy and the other associated neurological disorders. KD is a nutritional treatment found to be beneficial in epilepsy refractory to antiepileptic drugs and proposed also for a variety of other neurological disorders, for which the mechanism(s) of action are still poorly defined but certainly involve a change in metabolism, as KD mimics fasting.

Leptin, cloned in 1994 from white adipose tissue, has recently been discovered to have neurotrophic and neuroprotective effects on acute brain injury and long-term neurodegeneration. Melatonin is an endocrine modulator produced mainly by the pineal gland. The antioxidant and neuroprotective effects of melatonin have been recently fully investigated. Ghrelin was also found to be neuroprotective in different models of neurological disorders, including epilepsy, as well as to be a possible marker of response to antiepileptic drugs. Apart from its long history dating from the first use in twenties for therapy of medically intractable epilepsy, KD has recently been utilized in many neurological diseases, including autism spectrum disorders and ACTH-resistant West syndrome.

This Research Topic will give an updated view of these advancements. Other emerging areas in endocrine-modulating treatments, covered by this Research Topic, include the application of biomarker findings to help with early diagnosis and early intervention for diseases.

The Topic Editors welcome contributions in the form of original research papers, technical reports, as well as perspectives, mini-reviews, commentaries, and opinion papers.

The main focus includes, but is not limited to:

- New progress and molecular mechanisms in the clinical application of endocrine modulators, including KD;
- Progress in the application and mechanism of leptin, as well as other neuroendocrine modulators, such as - among others - melanocortins, VIP, PACAP, CRH, in pediatric neurological diseases (also in adults);
- Neuroendocrine regulation and protection of melatonin and potential translational medical value; and
- The predictive value of new biochemical marker molecules, such as ghrelin, in the treatment of the mentioned diseases.


Keywords: Biomarker, Endocrine-modulating therapy, Ghrelin, Leptin, Melatonin, Pediatric Neurology


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